I went to a marvellous party
We played the most wonderful game
And came back in a beard
And we all had to guess at her name
We talked about growing old gracefully
And Elsie who’s seventy-four
Said, “A, it’s a question of being sincere
And be, if you’re supple you’ve noting to fear
Then she swung upside down from a glass chandelier
I couldn’t have liked it more
With thanks to the equally wonderful Noel Coward
As far as I recall everybody left in the same gender in which they arrived and the chandeliers are still intact. However it was a wonderful party and if I can hang upside down from a chandelier when I am seventy four I will be delighted (and eternally grateful to Noel and Laura my yoga teachers!)
The most wonderful thing about having a caterer (particularly one as supremely talented as Andy
– really if you are looking for a caterer in the North East he is your go to man), is not only are you guaranteed fabulous food, but you don’t have the stress on the day of cooking it. I love to cook, I love to give parties, dinner parties, lunch parties, supper parties, I have even given breakfast parties, I adored giving children’s parties; but sometimes it’s nice to have the day off. As a result, instead of spending the day in the kitchen I could spend the day decorating and playing in the Barn.
Work in progress. Lavender and foliage from the garden. I keep vast quantities of tartan ribbon which is used time after time. My fingers were quite sore after winding wire round 16 mini bouquets and wrapping them in the ribbon.
Finished product. Worth the pain I think!
These were the only flowers I had to buy. One huge hydrangea head and one deep blue delphinium. Cost £5.50. I cut out a silver tag for the place name. By now my fingers were hardended and I had found some softer wire. I had also had a glass of wine which may have helped dull the pain….
By now I was on a roll. Next up were table decorations and flowers. I had already decided on lots of little jars and pots. So it was back out into the garden to raid what was left. If you are lucky enough to live in a rural area or have plenty of weeds (!) don’t ignore them, some of them are very pretty and tree foliage is a wonderful filler at this time of year when the colours are so rich.
The candles are resting in black lentils. I did um and ah, as I won’t be able to cookwith them now! But they were just perfect and I had bought them ages ago on special offer so I didn’t feel quite as bad. Also I can reuse them again and again.
The finished product.
The fifty balloons were a present from the Singers. Unfortunately the five kept turning around and it looked as if I was twenty. One look at me would confirm that this was an error!
The only non-edible disposable purchases – two flowers – cost £5.50. And they will be composted.
Today is a perfectly ordinary day other than the fact it is the day when I celebrate my first half century on this planet. I hope for many more years to come but I am grateful for those that I have already had. I am a very fortunate and happy lady. Some of the wonderful things I have experienced:
- seeing something I have planted and nutured grow and bloom
- meeting my three daughters for the first time
- crying in despair and wiping my eyes and realising I can still laugh and smile
- the smell of a warm, slightly damp dog
- a family, oddly shaped, but a family nonetheless
- opening my stocking and knowing that Father Christmas had been in my room whilst I slept
- the gentle touch of my husband
- a wonderful roof over my head
- the chance to live in another culture
- the burning passion to set things right
- an education
- friendships of all shapes and sizes
- glamour when I was just old enough to understand and young enough not to care
- freedom of expression
- Caithness and Sutherland
- belief in tomorrow
- big blowsey garden parties that go on forever and where children sleep where they fall
- seeing dreams, both large and small, come to fruition
- being a stay at home mummy
- writing a book
- summers in North Dakota
I could go on and on, but you get my drift. My life is not necessarily what I expected but it is all the richer for that. In the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway bet ten dollars that he could write a complete story in just six words. He wrote: “For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.” He won the bet. An American online magazine asked its readers to write their lifestory in six words. You will find mine at the bottom of the page here.
So to celebrate those fifty wonderful years I have invited 14 friends to dinner on Saturday. As it is my birthday I shall not be cooking, the food will be provided by the supremely talented Andy at Papaya. However, I do need to decorate the table and so forth and fully intend to do so without buying a single thing.
The before, I have started to put a few of the glass jars out but most of them are soaking to get them all nice and sparkly!
I can’t show you the after as I haven’t done it yet! However I am thinking garden flowers and greenery in the various sized glass jars.
We have lots of 2 and 3 candles silver candlelabras but I am prefering glass jars and bottles with candles and tea lights. The lavendar is still doing beautifully so that is going to feature heavily and I have decided to starch the damask napkins so that I can be creative with the folding (more flowers there I think too). I have plenty of empty tin cans of various sizes from small to vast and ribbon and flowers will be going on there as well. Chair covers are in the wash but I am not hugely fond of them, they are too dark. Not sure I can rustle up 16 made to measure covers in 2 days so am going to have to think a bit there.
We have plenty of crockery and cutlery. However, a recent rash of slippery fingers has reduced our large glassware somewhat so that i have had to buy. Ebay has been a godsend. Crystal glasses go for very little. I have stuck to a shape and mixed and matched. Wonderful bargains and beautiful glasses that will give pleasure for years to come (so long as the slippery fingers don’t get them).
On of our new glasses, full of course, next to my favourite Inuit bear.
After photograph on Saturday. This is my dry run for Christmas. No buy parties.